Auntie Fashion

I’m the fashion world’s most-enduring muse.

Posts Tagged ‘Project Runway Canada

The Jessica Biffi Interview

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Jessica Biffi

Jessica Biffi

It’s no secret that I wanted Jessica Biffi to win Project Runway Canada Season 2.  Like a lot of her fans, I saw the type of creativity in her work that made me want to see more!  I was thrilled to see her earn a place in the finals and — even though she didn’t win — I was happy that she was beaten by someone as talented as Sunny Fong.

I decided to catch up with Jessica this week to ask her a few questions.  We met at the Metro Toronto YMCA where Jessica was busting out her best moves in a hip hop class.  Girlfriend is so, so def.  It was almost embarrassing dancing beside her in the class because she made the rest of us look like rank amateurs, or — as they call us in the hood — white girls.

Anyway, in between a little crunk and some poppin’ and lockin’, Jessica graciously took the time to answer a few of the hard-hitting questions this crack journalist is always ready to ask.

Auntie Fashion: I hate to do this to you, but I was so eager to promote the first-ever Wear a Gown to Work Day on May 29 that I forget to find something to wear.  Can you whip me up a gown?  Or better yet, can you make us matching outfits?  I think I can safely say that we’d both look lovely in slippery, lime-green taffeta.

Jessica Biffi: What is this?  An off air challenge?  Have you been talking to Kim?  Slippery, lime-green . . . taffeta?  Things I make out of taffeta do not look like puke!  Although a lime-green with a little chain might be hot!

Auntie Fashion: I agree!  And I adore taffeta — it’s my signature fabric.  I like anything that can make a really puffy leg-o-mutton sleeve.  Anyhow, there’s a rumor going around town that you’re trying to parlay your success on Project Runway Canada into another reality TV gig.  So how did your audition for So You Think You Can Dance Canada go, anyway?

Jessica Biffi: Well I shouldn’t say, but they totally loved my victory dance moves on PRC and asked me to go right on to Toronto Week without even having to audition.  I know its not fair, but excited kicks and dancing on the spot get you far in life, and I’m gonna ride that dance train.  Don’t hate the player, hate the game.  But seriously, I love So You Think You Can Dance!

Auntie Fashion: I was also thrilled to discover that you’ve connected with the lovely Vicki BlackNasty from the casting site for RuPaul’s Drag Race.  She tells me that you’re soul sisters now.  If Vicki gets cast on the show, is there any advice that you could give her as someone who has made it to the finals of a reality show?

Jessica Biffi: Girl!  I love that show!  And I watched Miss BlackNasty’s auditions and I think she is A-Mazing!  A fly girl can go a long way!  You gotta do you, that’s my advice.  Keep your head on right (and in Vicki’s case, head, wig and face) and you can “Chante, you stay” all the way!  Bring you to the table on every challenge, and you will be all sprite!

Auntie Fashion: I know that you’re contractually obliged to shut your trap about PRC, but what can you tell me about Rita Silvan?  Every other fashion magazine editor in Canada adores me, but Rita won’t even return my calls.  I guess that I shouldn’t have compared the staff at Elle Canada to the girls on the Rock of Love Bus, but I meant it in the nicest possible way.  Do you think Rita will ever forgive me?

Jessica Biffi: You know, Rita is a very classic type of woman.  She likes her fashion but she is definitely more on the conservative side, and I think that might be why she didn’t like the Love Bus comment.  I don’t really know Rita on a personal level, but if we ever get there, I’ll put in a good word for you.

Auntie Fashion: Thanks!  As my favorite contestant on your season of PRC, I was thrilled to see you show at LG Toronto Fashion Week.  I could tell it was the highlight of your career so far.  Do you believe that you’ll be just as excited to show at Moose Jaw Fashion Week 2012?

Jessica Biffi: Awww . . . thanks for the love!  I was super excited, and the biggest thrill for me as a designer are the shows!  I’m thinking LG for 2012, but I’m really really excited for the Nunavut Spring/Summer shows!

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May 22, 2009 at 3:05 am

Jessica Biffi, meet Vicki BlackNasty

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Vicki Blacknasty

Vicki BlackNasty

I’ve got another favorite queen on the casting site for RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Her name is Vicki BlackNasty, and she’s a fly girl like Jessica Biffi!

I know that some people grew weary of Jessica’s affectations on Project Runway Canada, but I thought she was def, fly and/or dope.

Vicki is also a professional dancer, so if she’s cast on the show she can potentially bring some old-school style to the catwalk with her dance moves.  She’s packin’ all the flava I need.  Yo!

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May 9, 2009 at 5:14 pm

PRC Season 3: Where To Go?

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I was one of the few voices defending Project Runway Canada’s second season relocation to Ottawa.  The show takes place primarily in a studio and workroom, so I didn’t believe that the quality of the season was going to be undermined because it wasn’t being filmed in Toronto.  The finale took place during LG Toronto Fashion Week, anyway, so what was the big deal?  I was also enchanted by Ottawa when the show actually premiered.  The camera crew made Ottawa look like a gleaming jewel.  It was first-rate work!

I believe it would be a great idea to move the show around the country in future seasons, too, returning to Toronto for the finale.  This is a big country with a lot of great fashion in a lot of great cities.  But where would they go next?

That’s the question!  With Toronto (including Mississauga) and Ottawa-Gatineau out of the equation, Canada’s next largest metropolitan areas by population (according to the Canada 2006 Census) are Montreal (including Laval), Vancouver (including Surrey and Burnaby), Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City (including Lévis) and Winnipeg.

There are pros and cons for holding the competition in any of these cities.  Montreal would be a great choice.  It’s cosmopolitan and chic, but it also would be the logical place to hold a French-language version of the show.  They’ve also got the only fashion week in Canada that rivals LGTFW, so would it really be fair to relocate to the city only to abandon it for the finale?

Vancouver also seems like a logical place to go.  Fashionwise, one of the city’s greatest claims-to-fame is the Lululemon empire.  Could the casual, laid-back nature of West Coast style create some interesting challenges?  I think so.  Would the expense of bringing the show to downtown Vancouver scare off the producers?  Probably.

Both Calgary and Edmonton could offer something interesting to the show.  Fashion-retail space per person in either city has always been traditionally high, and there’s still a lot of money out west.  However, it’s easy for most Canadians to turn their noses up at two largest cities between Vancouver and Toronto without knowing a thing about either of them.  If moving the show to Ottawa started a controversy, just imagine if they filmed it in Cowtown.

Quebec City is lovely, but even a more controversial place to move the show than Montreal.  At least Montreal has the reputation of being a bilingual city.  Quebec City, on the other hand, is better-suited to hosting Project Runway Quebec, if the powers-that-be decided to produce it.

Winnipeg might seem like the most-unlikely choice, but it is home to the biggest success story in Canadian fashion history.  The Nygård empire is huge and mostly holding its own while its nearest competitors in the apparel manufacturing business are seeing red due to reckless expansion and questionable business practices.  Filming the show in Winnipeg might also attract Adrienne Butikofer to compete as a contestant.  With the hometown advantage, there could be no stopping her!

What do you think?

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April 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Oh, Andrew!

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NOW Toronto

I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m still carrying a torch for NOW Toronto’s Andrew Sardone.  With a voice that rivals Lou Rawls’ manly timbre and abdominal muscles that could grate cheese, he’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a man — almost!

It seems as if Andrew likes his reality show villains to be wishy washy wannabes who never get out of their rut of self-delusion.  I thought Genevieve Graham was the worst of the contenders on Project Runway Canada Season 2 because she showed no growth as a designer or as a contestant.  Her final runway show was more of the same old, same old.  Even worse, the lead look in the photo above reminded me of something Rachel Zoe would have been thrilled to put on Ashley Olsen a couple of years ago.

I got a little Baby Phat vibe from some garments in Jessica’s collection that didn’t appeal to me, either, but I also got the distinct impression that the designer had grown throughout the competition.  Never once did Genevieve give me the same impression.

It makes me realize that Andrew and I are living on the same planet, but in different worlds.  I’m sure that won’t come as a surprise to him, but it still makes me feel a little misty.

Sigh . . .

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April 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Expect the Expected

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Well, Sunny Fong won Project Runway Canada Season 2 after all.  While I didn’t agree with the judges choice, I understood why they rewarded the designer.  He was a terrific competitor with talent to spare.

However, I would have awarded Jessica Biffi with the title.  Seeing her put on her first-ever runway show made me eager to see what else she can do (although she received some perfectly valid criticism from the judges).  I’ve seen Sunny’s work before and — to be frank — his winning collection was a little expected.  Sunny apparently wants to be Canada’s Gilles Mendel.  I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with that, but Gilles Mendel heads up a house with five generations of family history behind it and a loyal client base that includes zillionaires, royalty and Celine Dion.  It makes me wonder if Sunny’s signature line Vawk has a future at all.  Who enters the luxury goods market during a downturn?

I wish Sunny the best, but I know he’s going to have a hard time adapting to the realities of business.  The best part of his prize (if he chooses to make the best of the situation) is his mentorship with Winners.  Those women from the company whose eyes bugged out when they saw the $1975 price tag on the coat he presented are going to have to save Sunny from himself.  I wonder what they would have said if they knew he was using recycled fur instead of new pelts?  I wonder if they thought about how much the collection would have cost if Sunny had to pay for the intricate hand-beading?  I wonder if his company could get away with creating that coat for only $1975?

Nevertheless, he was a deserving winner of an enjoyable season.  Except for the meddling of some earnest producers who need to stop dreaming up surprise twists (Genevieve; Jason; Cheryl Hickey) and start reading the online reactions of the the show’s devoted fans, it was a lot of fun.  I can’t wait until next season.  The word on the street is that they’re filming in Moose Jaw.

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April 15, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Is Jessica Biffi Going to Win Project Runway?

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Jessica Biffi

Last night’s episode of Project Runway Canada got me thinking that Sunny Fong might not run away with this competition after all.  The reason: Jessica Biffi’s collection looked slick.

I’ve liked Jessica since the show began.  My first blog posts about her praised her ability to fit her model and present a finished-looking garment on the runway.  What was lacking in her presentations, however, was a distinct signature.  While some contestants have had a difficult time toning-down their “signature look” when the challenge calls for it (Genevieve, for instance), Jessica suffered from the opposite affliction: Her “signature look” never actually appeared on the runway because she was too busy trying to stay out of the bottom two.

I guess it was a good strategy because she made it to the finale.  Still, until last night I really had no idea what to expect from her.  I was afraid that her initial designs (nixed by Brian Bailey, fortunately) were a little overwrought in the bust area, but I still did see some promise in her 30s-meets-hip-hop collection — or whatever it was called.

Sunny’s designs, on the other hand, looked like the clothes he designed for his bankrupt label Vawk.  I guess I expected more of a departure.  I wonder if the judges are going to say the same thing when the three finalists stand before them for the last time?

I don’t believe that Jason stands a chance.  Until yesterday, I wasn’t really sure if Jessica did, either.  Now I’m sort of hopeful for my homie.  You go, girl!

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April 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Ten Reasons Why Kim Cathers Should Have Been in the Finale

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I really don’t believe that Kim Cathers should have made it to the top three of Project Runway Canada Season 2.  However, I don’t believe that all three of the contestants who did make it to the finale deserved to show at Toronto Fashion Week.

With the luxury of hindsight, I began to think about who I would have enjoyed seeing in the final three.  I’m not only addicted to fashion, but I’m also addicted to reality shows, so it’s not a big stretch for me to speculate over how different the show might have been if the producers had left well-enough alone and kept Jason and Genevieve zipped up inside their tents.  The more I thought about that, the more I thought about how Kim was screwed over.  Sure, Adejoké was screwed over, too, but that’s a story for another post.

Anyway, here are ten reasons why I believe the inclusion of Kim would have made for a more acceptable finale:

#1: Kim was not eliminated solely based upon a poor solo performance.  Making any contestant take part in a group challenge at such a late stage in the competition was a foolish idea, never mind the gimmicky nature of the challenge.  What if the producers had made the final four contestants do something legitimate, like creating some mix-and-match separates?  Maybe Kim would have made it over that hurdle.

#2: Even at her worst (the wedding dress challenge) Kim was constrained by a lack of material.  With unlimited material (the Post-It challenge), Jason created the most amateurish garment of the season.

#3: The aesthetic that defined Kim’s designs on the show was no more diffuse than Adejoké’s aesthetic.

#4: Kim was a better listener than Genevieve.

#5: Kim was a better villain than Genevieve.

#6: Kim was the perfect foil to the obvious frontrunners, Sunny and Jessica.  She was the Kenley Collins of her season.

#7: Kim’s biggest weakness was a lack of practical skills.  Giving her a few months to put together a collection could have allowed her to prove her talent.

#8: No matter what Kim did, she never created a singular outfit that was as tacky as most of the garments that Jason showed.  Her taste may have been defined by a rather narrow perspective, but Jason had no taste at all.  His Valentino dress was almost as awful as his Post-It dress.

#9: Kim was more interesting than Brandon, a better villain than Margarita, more stable than Christie, a better designer than Camille, more exciting than Baylor, better at time-management than Jeff, and more able to compete on a reality show than both Danio and Jaclyn.

#10: Perhaps she would have grown up enough by the finale to make it through the last episode without saying anything rotten to Jessica.  The redemption arc is the classic edit of the competitive reality show.  If Kim had shown up on the final runway and said “Sorry for being such a bitch backstage,” she would earned my respect.  It’s too bad she wasn’t given the chance.  Instead we got Jason.  Blah!

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April 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm